I had a day in the recording studio today, working on my new album with my sound engineer friend Mark Fawcett. So my only chance at spotting any birds was on the journey over from Wells to Melton Constable.
It’s interesting what species I have so far not seen this year that I might have expected to: The list includes jay, song thrush, redwing, mistle thrush, tufted duck, great crested grebe, greenfinch and a handful more…..however most of these were unlikely to add themselves to my 2023 list on my short drive.
So I thought I would talk about lapwings!
I remember the lapwing being one of my favourite birds when I first began birdwatching. However they have been in steep decline during my lifetime. The RSPB website notes that; “The declines in lapwing population have been greatest in southern England and Wales, where the farming changes have been greatest and farmland is the only suitable habitat for the lapwing. Between 1987 and 1998 lapwing numbers dropped by 49 per cent in England and Wales. Since 1960 the numbers dropped by 80 per cent. The birds have fared better in Scotland, where the crucial changes to farming were introduced later than in England and Wales. However, even there the numbers have dropped by 29 per cent since 1987.”
Those statistics – as with those for many other of our formerly common farmland species – are horrendous, so it is somewhat heartening that I am currently seeing large numbers of lapwing. Let us hope that better farming methods and habitat conservation will allow for increased breeding numbers over the next few years.
Out of sheer curiosity I looked up whether there was a collective noun for lapwings: There were two options, a desert or a deceit. I actually prefer deceit as lapwing have a habit of trying to distract predators away from their nests (which are on the ground) by feigning injury away from said nest (as well as also noisily mobbing larger birds from the air when necessary).
My day in the studio was enjoyable and productive, and on my drive there I did in fact manage to tick off one more bird species: Two jays flew over the road in front of me.
New species for January 16th:
TOTALS TO DATE:
Birds = 87
Moths = 0
Wildflowers = 10